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A weekly short story contest
Looking for a steady supply of science fiction short stories? Every week thousands of writers submit stories to our writing contest.
We'll send you 5 prompts each week. Respond with your short story and you could win $50!
Submitted by writers on Reedsy Prompts to our weekly writing contest .
His grandfather had lived out his childhood in a house overlooking a busy railway line. Greg lost count of the number of times he’d heard the story about the night a fire closed the line further out of town.‘Woke up suddenly,’ Grandpa said. ‘Nine forty-three precisely. The silence woke me – should have been the Birmingham night train coming through. I couldn’t sleep after that, sat up watching the empty lines and knowing there was something wrong.’Greg had been fascinated to hear the story as a child, moving on to boredom in...
The lights had been dimmed in the auditorium, and this was Melissa’s favourite time. Okay, perhaps auditorium was too grand a word for the little box room tucked into the middle of the exhibition, but with only the light from the projector she imagined it was her great stage. Then she could pretend she was presenting her stunning PhD thesis, rather than re-reading the script the museum provided. Sure the job was fun, but...
I’m sorry, Noah, it reads on the back of the faded postcard he holds. It’s not safe here. Go home. I’ll catch you later.
There’s no signature, not that Noah needs one. Not when he can find that familiar lopsided scrawl etched onto the left side of his soul.
Not when he already knows he’s late.
I’m sorry, Noah.
It isn’t the first time he...
The train ran completely underground for the entire five hour trip, taking them from the small train station and emerging indoors in the Hospital District. Rosa wanted to see Washington DC but she also didn't want to be disappointed. She knew it wouldn't look like she remembered it from years ago.
She held Fred's hand for most of the trip. “Do you think there's a chance this will work?” she asked him. She had ol...
“It will be your greatest achievement,” said his editor. “Thousands of copies sold, and your name forever remembered as one of England’s greatest writers.”
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle sneered and took a drag from his pipe. “If in 100 years I am known only as the man who invented Sherlock Holmes, then I will consider my life a failure.”
Shana stared at the popsicle melting in her hand.The sun was beating down hard and was uncomfortably hot against her neck and arms. Sweat dripped down her armpits and the back of her tank top. It was a creamy strawberry flavor and was a soft champagne shade of pink that reminded her of the pastel shades of the buildings at home. She loved strawberry. But she didn’t want her stepdad getting the satisfaction of watching her enjoy it. So she just sat on the fountain watching it melt in the sweltering he...
Sandy finally made it.
The years leading up to this point were absolute mayhem: countless sleepless nights of studying and preparation at the public library, nerve-wracking competitions to determine one’s worthiness, forced smiles, and constant stress. The years felt long but looking back on it, they passed faster than The Flash’s cameraman. The only thing that mattered was that Sandy won.
It was Jason’s first time leaving home on his own, so his emotions were mixed with both anxiety and excitement.
Since his acceptance to Langford College, he had been trying to prepare himself for the transition into adulthood. That meant more freedom, but also more responsibility. His mom wouldn’t be there to make his meals or do his laundry anymore. His dad w...
You can be standing in the middle of a surprise farewell party but still feel alone. Surrounded by people you won’t see for a long time, all of them grateful for the sacrifice you’re making. The impending loneliness used to keep you awake at night, but your training has taught you to embrace it.
The view beyond the port side window is sprinkled with pinholes of light floating on a sea of dark matter. The stars loo...
She was delivered to Albert fully charged. The deliveryman carried the heavy, human-sized wooden crate off his truck with an old rusty trolley that nearly toppled over in the middle of the suburban street. Spring had barely settled, and the frightening sound chased away a yellow-feathered warbler eating grains in the birdhouse on the front lawn.
“Careful!” yelled Albert, out...
Captain Pax stared intently out of his ship’s front windshield as an enemy fleet slipped away through the infinite cosmos. Just minutes before, he had ordered his crew to escape the ship, as he was certain it would not survive the onslaught. He sat in his chair and spoke to the only companion left with him.
“Vessel, give me a diagnostics report on the ship, please.”
“Certainly, sir.” The artificial intel...
2200 A.D., Shimla, India:“Bappu, my friend lost one of his shoes, can you help me find it?” Five year old Ayush Singhvi looked up hopefully to his father, sitting inside his productivity cubicle. A red icon was slowly beeping on the flexiglass panel enclosing the father-son duo, indicating the end of their family interaction hour. His father, Parth Singhvi, sighed in resignation. “Where did your friend lose his shoe?” Bappu finally asked him, but his eyes kept glancing at the left...
In this world, only two people matter.There’s you—to be referred to only as such, because Maya won’t call you anything resembling “Dad.”And there’s Maya, who is your everything.Maya will now take the lead, because she always takes the lead. But bear in mind that your role in this has left just as many scorch marks, if not more so.🚀The only thing that could ruin Captain Maya’s day is an asteroid field. It looks l...
“What’s our depth?”
“25,000 feet ma’am.”
“Anything on the radar?”
“No, ma’am, we seem to be alone down here,” the captain’s brow creased in confusion. “Is that a good or bad thing, Arthur?”
“I’m not sure, ma’am.” Arthur stayed facing the monitor, watching the green line of the radar go round and round. The captain watched him a bit longer than turned to her brother, the second in command. He a...
Story abridged to fit word count:
The USS Basilosaurus— “Basilo”—glided seamlessly into the opening of the passage known as Dolly’s Cathedral. The Seawolf Class submarine was one of about a half-dozen ‘cancelled’ units that the United States had re-commissioned in secrecy. Among those stationed aboard the Basilo was Lie...
The girl is alone, sitting in a black leather chair and staring at her gloved hands, tips still singed with oil. She should have finished fixing the navigation systems, but her fingers ache. Four minutes pass before she glances up at the flashing lights. Her hair is choppy, ragged from neglect. What had been so important?
The lights don’t disappear all at once, instead each darkening one after another. They begi...
Down in the depths, the thing you come to realize is that you are very, very alone.
It’s a different experience from diving near the surface. I dove for samples when I studied under Dr. Vern. Up near the surface of the water, you are never alone. If you aren’t careful, you can look over your shoulder and find a barracuda’s watchful eye staring you down. It happened to a buddy of mine when he forgot to take ou...
>You are now accessing records regarding Mission GLIE32-PL2X1.Mission GLIE32-PL2X1 was the first manned exploration of Planet GLIESE3293-b (abbreviated Glie-b) and the last of nine missions to several terrestrial objects in the GLIESE-3293 system. Mission GLIE32-PL2X1 was serviced by the S.S. Perihelion, a small scientific research spacecraft (Class: New Fusion, Type: Expeditioner, and Model: Caelum X) designed for regular surface-to-orbit trav...
The pain in Angelus' wrist was minimal, but she wasn't going to tell the doctor that. She sat on the emergency room bed, her headphones around her neck, looking around at the sight before her. The makeshift emergency bay of the little hospital was filled with patients. Angelus knew this was because of the recent raid in their small encampment, but she couldn't help but wonder if any of the patients were one of them
You’ve never seen darkness like this. It isn’t ink, or a blanket, or any other metaphor you’ve ever heard of for night. There is no ink this pigmented, no blanket that could blot out worlds the way this darkness does. All I can think of to describe it is that feeling you get when looking down an unlit hallway. The sensation that danger waits in the shadows, and all you have to do is walk forward.
All it wanted was the darkness.
But the light was everywhere in this alien world. It could sense it, pulsing, beating like a heart.
It would consume the light. The cruel light that had tainted the pure, cold flames of the night. And it would take
It crept out of the meteor in which it arrived. Chatter and screams from the creators of the light echoed in its min...
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